US Patent & Trademark Office: Give Them a Break

Over the past several months I have read too many disparaging articles regarding the Patent and Trademark Office, (PTO). Check out IP Watchdog and you will get the idea. PTO has been blasted on everything from their budget constraints, patent pendency, quality review and unfortunately the list goes on.

What isn’t mentioned in these articles is that PTO is a self-funded agency. They generate over $1 billion in revenue annually that they retain, thanks to congress, and use for their operations. Not many other agencies can claim that they pay for themselves. In addition, what is often left out of these articles is the fact that the state of the current economy is a highly negative impact on the Patent Office’s operations. Because our economy is in such poor shape the level of patent and trademark applications has gone down significantly. With out these applications, PTO does not collect the fees that they would normally benefit from and use to enhance their opearations.

PTO is still working fervantly to innovate and improve their operations and processes, even though collection of the patent and trademark fees are down. People often forget that PTO has been a consistent leader in innnovation over the years. They were the first government agency to embrace performance-based standards for their employees. PTO was also on the bleeding edge initiative, receiving multiple accolades for their achievements.

Any thoughts or suggestions on how PTO can help confront their budget hurdles and implement the innovations that they are armed and ready to do? We need innovators, not haters 😉

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